A month after Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh announced the nation would ban female genital mutilation, the country’s lawmakers passed a bill that criminalizes the brutal practice. Anyone convicted of breaking the new law, officially passed on December 28, will be subject to fines as low as $1,250 to penalties as harsh as life in prison. Gambia, which, according to the latest statistics in 2010, had about 80 percent of females who have undergone cutting, is the 27th sub-Saharan nation to take legislative action against the practice. While that’s undoubtedly a progressive step, within a week of passing the landmark law, a leaked government memo showed the authorities there may be planning a new attack on women’s everyday rights that aims to dictate how they must dress.
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